In the last few days, seismic activity in Iceland has not stopped increasing and scientists warn that everything points to an eruption of the Grimsvötn volcano, the most active in the northern island, although they cannot know if it is a matter of days, weeks or months. The last time it woke up, in 2011, it caused the cancellation of a thousand flights in Northern Europe and the ashes reached the United Kingdom.
Experts from the National Meteorological Office are measuring high levels of sulphur dioxide, indicating the presence of shallow magma. In addition, unusual geothermal activity has been detected. Some scientists suggest that the activity of the Grímsvötn volcano is often favoured by melting glaciers. The 2011 eruption took place at the end of May. The pressure of the water accumulation in its lake would favour the eruptions. Being a volcano located under a glacier, its eruptions are usually accompanied by significant flooding.
At the other end of the island, on the north coast, three earthquakes of more than 5 degrees of magnitude have been recorded in the last four days. One of them was felt in Reykjavik, the capital, 265 kilometres away. In the last 24 hours, 1,500 earthquakes have been recorded, 60 of them with a magnitude of more than 3 degrees. Since this crisis began, 4,000 earthquakes have been recorded, according to the agency.
The epicenter of this seismic “swarm”, which is expected to continue in the coming days, is located 20 kilometers off the coast of Siglufjördur, a small town of about 1,200 souls on Iceland’s northern coast. And a few dozen kilometres from Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest city with almost 20,000 inhabitants. So far no major injuries or damage have been reported, only landslides and rock falls near the epicentre in steeply sloping areas. However, hundreds of calls have been received from witnesses who saw the earth shake.